"You've got to expect that from Florida. That's what Florida does. They throw the ball a lot," South Carolina linebacker Ricardo Hurley said. "I think they tried to run the score up. But we weren't surprised."
While that might be true, it's also true that South Carolina contributed mightily to its 48-14 loss at Florida. The Gators won most of the battles up front, holding South Carolina to just 279 total yards, sacking quarterback Syvelle Newton three times and recording seven tackles for a loss while the Gamecocks (6-4, 4-4 SEC) did not produce any sacks and only two tackles for losses.
"The first quarter, we played well," South Carolina coach Lou Holtz said. "After that, the longer it went, the worse it got."
South Carolina led 7-0 in the second quarter when Florida defensive end Jeremy Mincey intercepted Newton's pass and returned it to South Carolina's 36-yard line. Four plays later, Leak threw his first touchdown pass of the game.
Then, Florida blocked a South Carolina punt and recovered it at the Gamecocks' 9-yard line. Four plays later, Leak threw his second touchdown pass on the way to a 21-7 halftime lead.
How bad was it? "Hide all sharp instruments and all guns," Holtz joked.
All joking aside, the Gamecocks looked like a team expecting a coaching search. Holtz has hinted at retiring following the season and speculation about his status may have contributed to South Carolina's performance.
"As I told the football team, 'Let's just go play the football game. Let's win,'" Holtz said. "Everything's going to be done in due time and the best thing for the program.'"
In the meantime, the Gamecocks have a lot of work to do this to prepare for a chance to beat in-state rival Clemson, especially after last year's one-sided South Carolina loss.
"Next week's a very big game -- 63-17," Holtz said, referring to the score of last season's matchup.
Game Ball: FS Ko Simpson -- One week after returning a fumble 57 yards for a touchdown and intercepting a pass in the final minute to secure a victory over Arkansas, Simpson picked off another pass. He leads the SEC with six interceptions and became the first South Carolina player to intercept six passes in a season since Arturo Freeman in 1997.
Keep an Eye On: RB Demetris Summers and WR Troy Williamson -- Florida held South Carolina's leading rusher Summers to 53 yards on 10 carries and held South Carolina's leading receiver Williamson to just one catch for seven yards.
Quote to Note: "Many people think it's his time, but we think he's still got time. We're going to run him until the wheels fall off." -- South Carolina tailback Cory Boyd on coach Lou Holtz' future with the team.
Looking Good: The Gamecocks didn't do many things right, but they did control the ball for 35 minutes, 10 seconds and converted 7 of 16 third-down plays.
Still Needs Work: Three quarterbacks combined to throw four interceptions, with Syvelle Newton suffering the most damage. He completed only seven of 17 passes for 66 yards and a career-worst three interceptions and left the game early with a sprained left ankle.
Roster Report: In addition to Newton's sprained ankle, the Gamecocks also lost leading WR Troy Williamson to a lower-leg injury in the third quarter. Also, RB Andrea Gause limped off the field late in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury. The Gamecocks can play without Gause this week, but they're going to need Newton and Williamson against Clemson. ... Redshirt junior Orus Lambert made his first career start in place of senior Marcus Lawrence at middle linebacker. Lawrence missed the first half with a pulled groin and played a limited role in the second half. ... Woodly Telfort also made his first start at left guard, moving Chris White to right guard, where he played ahead of fifth-year senior Jonathan Alston.
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